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Create an Awesome Paint Explosion Image


Today’s tutorial will be slightly shorter than most that I write, but I feel that it shows some really useful techniques that are worth learning.

Final Image

This is the final image that we are going to be created:

Step 1:

Create a new document and paste in a photo of a woman’s face. Make sure that it’s roughly centrally aligned.

Step 2:

Now grab an image of an ink splatter and paste it into your document. Drag the image so that the main part of the splatter goes over the woman’s eye. It’s very important that your splatter is black on a white background, and that the contrast is set to +100.

Now we want to cut out the ink splatter from it’s background. This would be impossible using the lasso or magic wand selection tools, so I go to select > color range and then choose ‘shadows’ and make sure that ‘selection’ is checked. Photoshop then automatically selects the black parts of my image – in this case the paint splatter. It’s very important to hide the layer containing the photo of the woman, as the color range selection will pick up the dark parts of this image despite it being on a different layer. Also, be sure to check ‘invert’ so that the selected area is your white background and not the ink splatter, this way you can simply hit delete and delete the area around the splatter.

Step 3:

Then duplicate your ink splatter layer and go to edit > transform > flip horizontal. Move the flipped image so that it covers the woman’s other eye.

Step 4:

Now find other images of ink splatters and position them over the nose/mouth and between the eyes. When you’ve done this merge all of your ink splatter layers together and then using the color range technique select the area around them. Then go to select > save selection and save it as ‘splatter’.

Step 5:

Hide your ink splatter layer and select the layer with the photo of the woman. Load your ‘splatter’ selection then hit delete achieve the outcome below:

Step 6:

Now create a new layer called ‘watercolor’ and select a set of watercolor brushes set at black, 100% opacity. Paint over your photo until it’s covered:

Step 7:

Then increase the contrast by 100 and set the layer’s blending mode to overlay, and opacity to 50%. Load your ‘splatter’ selection and hit delete to delete the parts of the watercolor brushes going past your photo of the woman.

Step 8:

Now go back to your ink splatter layer which has been hidden. Make it visible again and move it below your photo layer and watercolor overlay layer. Then go to edit > transform > rotate and rotate it round like this:

Step 9:

Now go to layer blending options and apply a color overlay effect of the color AEDF43.

Step 10:

Now duplicate your layer and go to edit > transform > rotate 180 degrees. Change your color overlay color to B75CBD.

And we’re done!

To finish up add a paper texture as a background and paste in a photo of a paintbrush to complete the arty look.

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial, and as always I’d love to hear what you think!

Download Source File for this Tutorial

About the Author:

Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.

Leave a comment


  1. twopo says:

    wow!! This is great. I just love the way you write the tutorials.kudos

  2. Tom says:

    Thanks twopo! I’m really glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Ali says:

    Hey man!
    Enjoyed the tutorial:D
    Greetings from Holland

  4. Tom says:

    Hey Ali! Thanks for stopping by, I’m glad you enjoyed the tutorial :) I hope that you’ll stick around for the future.

  5. wow that was cool, I like it thanks for sharing this tuts here. great job.

  6. Tom says:

    Cheers Mark, I’m glad you liked the tut. I hope that you’ll check out my other ones and subscribe to the feed.

  7. MD says:

    Awesome! :D thnx

  8. Tom says:

    No problem MD :) Glad you enjoyed it.

  9. Cloud No9 says:

    This is a brilliant idea-I really love it!

    Thnx so much for sharing. You’re so imaginative! Glad to found out about your site-I won’t miss a thing!!! ;)

  10. Tom says:

    Thanks Cloud No9 :) I hope that you’ll take the time to check out some of my past tutorials and of course future ones. Glad to have you here! :D

  11. rookie artist says:

    Cant understand step4. Don’t know how to do it!

  12. rookie artist says:

    And i couldnt understand B75CBD.. Its not in blending option> color overlay

  13. Tom says:

    Hey Rookie Artist: Step 4 is the exact same as step 2 but with more paint splatter images.

    B75CBD is the hex code that you input for your color in the color overlay options. It’s just a certain way of specifying a particular color.

  14. nannerz says:

    i dont get step 5…

  15. K K Shiva kumaran says:

    Its a greate work dud. keep it up. I loved very much.

  16. ang says:

    great but did not understand it one bit with out more psp tutorials.

  17. Cate says:

    What a great tute. Thank you

  18. oes tsetnoc says:

    lol very funny and nice tutorial. what you made out of the woman.

  19. Hany Mourad says:

    Very nice idea but a little difficult, especially for beginners and if possible be replicated in another way, remains the best in the other tutorials

  20. mithilesh says:

    njoyed a lot

  21. RobbyDesigns says:

    A lot of missed stuff like where to get the splatters, a better explanation of your quirky select bodge up would have been good too. My first premium tut, not impressed.

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